UK General Elections: What I saw…

This was my first time voting in any kind of national election. Therefore I was quite excited to go and vote. Throughout the day I was feeling like an excited puppy who has been tied to a post.

Since the day of voting was NOT a holiday I had to finish off my work before I could go and vote. I had to control my excitement till the evening. The voting hours were 7am to 10pm. With 15 hours to cast your vote I was quite surprised to hear, later that night, that many voters had to be turned back as they waited in the line outside because they were not able to get a ballot paper before the polls closed. I guess the issues on which these elections were fought really motivated the people to come out and make a difference.

The polling station near our house was in a local school. When I reached the location around 7pm and found the area to be deserted. There were small posters pointing the way to the polling station. That was the only thing there to indicate that the polling station was somewhere near by. As I stood outside the school, trying to figure out where exactly the polling station was located I saw few people walking out of the school through a side entrance. That is how I located the polling station.

Once inside I handed in my voters card (which had been sent by post) and they handed me a blank ballot paper. I went into the booth and cast my vote by marking my chosen candidates name with a pencil.

I was surprised to see such a basic, no-fuss no-mess voting system. No electronic voting machines, no tamper proof ballot paper, no sign of police and absolutely no crowds. The whole process took about 5 mins.

The results are obviously now out. I did stay up till the Conservative party had achieved a healthy lead on Labour. My prediction of Nick Clegg joining hands with Gordon Brown was partially right. It was a hung parliament and Nick Clegg did tie up with one of the two big political parties, just that it was not Labour.

In India the elections are a whole lot more spicier and logistically speaking very difficult to organize. Seeing the process at work in UK for a relatively small population I had even more respect for the Indian election system, however more complicated it may be for the average voter.

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